Community Politics

Louisville’s top cop will lay out his budget desires today.

Metro Council members are in the midst of budget considerations and the police department is slated for a more than 10 percent increase, according to Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer’s budget proposal.

The police department routinely leads the budget allocations by Fischer. He said public safety “is our top priority.”

He wants to allocate some $182 million to police in the coming year.

The boosted department funding comes as violent crime is on the rise and drug related overdoses are climbing.

But a review of police data since 2011 shows that while the budgetary allocations for the department have climbed, the number of uniform crime citations has fallen.

Uniform crime reporting dates back to 1929 and is the standard for crime data used by the Federal Bureau of Investigation. The data includes violent and property crime.

Despite the falling overall crime, violent crime has been on the rise, as WFPL News reported last week. And residents should be mindful of the narrative city officials weave when citing a decline in falling uniform crime report numbers.

Yet still, amid the official decline in crime reports, police continue to see their budget bolstered nearly every year since Fischer took office.

With this rising allocation, police officials have worked to increase the city’s number of police officers.

Metro Council members have criticized police chief Steve Conrad in recent months for not being forthcoming about details like just how many officers he’d like to add to the LMPD ranks. Earlier this month, he told the council he’d asked Fischer for funding to hire 50 additional officers, yet was promised funding for less than 20.

Fischer said the city budget is limited and it’s not unusual for allocations to fall short of the desires of department directors.

“We have hundreds of millions of dollars that people request that don’t fit in the budget,” he said. “These are the trade-offs you make.”

Conrad will appear before the council’s budget committee at 4:30 Monday.

Jacob Ryan is the Metro Affairs reporter for WFPL.